While it’s easy to stick to your tried and true practices, even just the slightest change in perspective or approach can lift your results to new heights. Social impact organizations that continue to adapt, evolve, and enhance their fundraising strategy are the ones that expand their impact year over year. Learn from their examples, and you can adapt your own strategy to improve your approach and grow.
In a recent webinar, we picked the brains of three organizations who absolutely crushed their fundraising campaigns in 2015. We chatted with:
- Tom Silverman — Vice President Global Chapters, buildOn
- Billy Williams — Strategic Partnerships Director, Nuru International
- Hope Smith — Executive Director, The Texas Mamma Jamma Ride
Each representative explained their organization’s fundraising strategy, along with their biggest takeaways and lessons learned. We picked a few of our favorite insights and included them here. For the full scoop, check out the presentation below.
Fundraising Strategy #1
Integrate Peer-to-Peer With Traditional Fundraising
Peer-to-peer is a powerful fundraising strategy that empowers your organization to not only raise money, but also tap into new pools of donors that might otherwise be inaccessible. But this model doesn’t have to work independently from your traditional fundraising methods. In fact, you can integrate the two in order to strengthen your impact.
Take buildOn, for instance. Their “Spread Our Movement” campaign in 2015 recruited student fundraisers to help acquire new donors. In order to motivate supporters, the organization said that the first 150 fundraisers to bring in $25 gifts from unique donors would win $150 toward their campaign. buildOn was only able to offer this incentive by leveraging a more traditional fundraising method first—securing a major gift.
After buildOn locked in a large gift , they could use it to motivate grassroots fundraising and help supporters reach their goals. buildOn reached out to key stakeholders and explained how their gift could have a larger impact on the cause they care deeply about. According to Silverman,
We’ll say something like, ‘Instead of giving $30,000 to fund a school—which would be amazing—why don’t you give us $30,000 and we’ll turn that into 10 schools? And not just 10 schools, but we’ll turn them into student-powered and funded schools.’
This is a great example of how you can convey to larger donors the power of leveraging their gift to spark grassroots fundraising. Tap into your traditional tactics to motivate the next generation of philanthropists.
Fundraising Strategy #2
Engage Monthly Donors Regularly
A recurring giving program is a fundraising strategy that provides a reliable source of income, all year long. To attract supporters and get your program off the ground, consider the following strategies:
- Invite existing monthly donors to join
- Reach out to lapsed donors to check out your new initiative
- Ask newer donors to make a more longstanding commitment
As you reach out to potential monthly donors and deepen your relationships with them, you need to let them know that they are a special, dedicated community of supporters who play a key role in your organization’s success. This requires consistent communication on your end.
Nuru International does a great job of making their monthly donors feel like important stakeholders in their mission. They send out consistent updates on their program’s progress and innovations, as well as stories about the lives it has changed. Williams explains that this regular stream of updates is critical to retaining these donors. He advises,
Keep talking to people about your wins, the mission ahead, and the roads you want to take.
Nuru staffers even make it a priority to meet monthly donors in person when traveling. Their dedication to constant communication has reaped considerable rewards. Over the last five to six years, their recurring giving program, Catalyst, has raised $650,000.
Fundraising Strategy #3
Focus on Attracting Committed Fundraisers
In order to maximize both participation and contributions, some organizations ask event participants to fundraise on top of a registration fee. For many nonprofits, the success of this event is often defined by the number of people who decide to sign up. Unfortunately, some registrants will most likely fail to raise that extra dollar, leaving opportunity on the table.
The Texas Mamma Jamma Ride noticed this trend during their annual biking event. Thirty percent of people who signed up on teams failed to raise the minimum requirement, and 20 percent didn’t raise anything at all. So the organization decided to shift its strategy. In order to drive action, Mamma Jamma leveraged Classy’s “fundraise for entry” option for their 2015 event, making it mandatory for people to raise a certain amount to participate.
After switching gears, they noticed the people who signed up were more committed. More people were meeting the fundraising requirement. And while a few board members were concerned that the lack of registration fees would hurt the event’s total yield, the 2015 campaign actually raised more money than prior years.
Through this new strategy, Mamma Jamma could also identify who their committed fundraisers were and go above and beyond to make them feel appreciated. Smith says,
Focus on your 20 percent. Everybody knows the old adage: 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. In fundraising, that’s generally true. Make it your goal to treat those people as the really good friends that they are. Shower them with praise, attention, and recognition because they’re the ones you want to come back every year. They’re the ones who will help grow your event in the best way by bringing more people like them—people who can and will raise money to be part of something special and make a difference.
These are just a few ways that you can elevate your overall fundraising strategy. Check out the full conversation to learn how each of these organizations powered different types of fundraising campaigns, including: